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Rising India and Indian Communities in East Asia

K Kesavapany, A Mani and P Ramasamy

Publication Year: 2008

This edited volume containing thirty-five chapters focuses on three main contemporary issues: the phenomenon of "new Indians" in the past five decades, the impact of rising India on settled Indian communities, and the recent migrants. By examining these interrelated aspects, this study seeks to address questions like: what does "Rising India" mean to Indian communities in East Asia? How are members of Indian communities responding to India’s rise? Will India pay greater attention to people of Indian origin? And last but not least, will Indians in East Asia identify themselves with their ancestral land or view such identification as problematic?

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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List of Tables

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pp. ix-xii

List of Figures

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xvi

The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) published a major work, Indian Communities in Southeast Asia, edited by the late Professor K.S. Sandhu and Professor A. Mani in the early 1990s. That study provided an extensive treatment of Indians in various Southeast...

The Editors

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pp. xvii-xviii

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The Contributors

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pp. xix-xxvi

K. Anbalakan is Senior Lecturer in history at the School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang. His research areas are: Indian nationalism, social, political and economic history of Malaysia, identity construction among Malaysian...


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pp. 1-2

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1. India and Indians in East Asia: An Overview

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pp. 3-11

Indians have been trading with East and Southeast Asia since ancient times. From the 1860s down to the early twentieth century, the traders were joined by large numbers of labourers who went out, or were sent out, largely to work in the plantations...

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2. Indians and the Colonial Diaspora

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pp. 12-26

Indian migration in the colonial period is chiefly identified with the massive exportation of labour throughout the British Empire, in the hundred years after the abolition of slavery. The figures, in order of numerical importance, are approximately as follows: Ceylon...

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3. The Movement of Indians in East Asia: Contemporary and Historical Encounters

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pp. 27-48

In recent years qualitative and quantitative changes in Indian migration have gained the increasing attention of researchers, policymakers and organizations such as the World Bank (WB), the International Labour Office (ILO) and the International...

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4. Community Formations among Indians in East Asia

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pp. 49-70

East Asia, for purposes of this chapter, is defined as including Southeast Asia, China, Hong Kong, Korean Peninsula and Japan. The association between the Indian sub-continent and East Asia is historical...

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5. India and Southeast Asia in the Context of India's Rise

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pp. 71-86

For a brief period in the late 1940s and early 1950s, India showed a robust interest in drawing close to its Southeast Asian neighbours. But this trend did not last very long. Despite their geographical proximity, India and the regional states drifted...

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6. India's Engagement with East Asia

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pp. 87-106

India has been engaged with East Asia throughout its history. The depth of this engagement has been very profound. Even if we look only at the last two thousand years, it becomes clear how intensely it has been engaged with the East Asian region...

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7. India's Economic Engagement with East Asia: Trends and Prospects

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pp. 107-129

The Indian economic performance in the recent years has been attracting widespread attention. With over 8 per cent growth sustained over the past few years and robust outlook for the future, India is emerging as a growth driver for the Asian and the world economy...

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8. Brand India and East Asia

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pp. 130-145

The surging Indian economy has sustained growth of 6 to 8 per cent over the last few years and all things Indian seems to be in current vogue. Is India finally shaking the perception of a developing country that is more famous for social inequality and religious...

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9. Japan-India Relations: A Time for Sea Change?

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pp. 146-156

In his book, Towards a Beautiful Country, published in July 2006, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has devoted three pages to Japan-India relations.1 Recognizing the enormous potential of emerging India, he states in the book that, “it is of crucial importance...

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10. Indian Interactions in East Asia

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pp. 157-165

Professor Wang Gungwu’s comments in this volume not only provide a brilliant overview of the historical perspective of the Indian diaspora but also set the tone for a comparative basis in dealing with this phenomenon by frequently referring to China...


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pp. 167-168


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pp. 169-170

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11. A Century of Contributions by Indians in Negara Brunei Darussalam

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pp. 171-192

The number of Indians in Brunei Darussalam has been growing steadily since 1906, when Britain extended its protection over the shrinking sultanate. In that year a Pathan and a Sikh were seconded from Malaya for police duty in Brunei town...


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pp. 193-194

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12. China: Indians' New-found Land

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pp. 195-206

The cultural relations between India and China can be traced back to very early times. There are numerous references to China in Sanskrit texts, but their chronology is vague. The Mahabharata refers to China several times. Also, the Arthasastra and...

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13. Blue-collar Indians: Imperceptible Yet Important in Hong Kong

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pp. 207-226

The entrepreneurial success of some Indians in Hong Kong is a fabulous story (Das 1990; Kwok and Narain 2003; Vaid 1972; White 1994). On the occasion of the 58th Republic Day of India in 2007, B.K. Gupta, Consul- General of India in Hong Kong...


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pp. 227-228

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14. Indians in a Rapidly Transforming Indonesia

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pp. 229-252

The political, social and economic fabric of Indonesia has undergone rapid transformation since 1998. The transition to democracy under four presidents, a vociferous demand for more voice and freedom, rising expectations, an Islamic resurgence and the tumultuous...


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pp. 252-254

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15. Indians in Tokyo and its Vicinity

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pp. 255-268

“Rising India” paints a country of more than one billion people, with rapid economic development, and well-known for IT and biotechnology. Many IT engineers have moved from India to other countries including Japan. In Japan Indians who work...

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16. The Indian Community in Kobe: Diasporic Identity and Network

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pp. 269-284

This chapter, while focusing on links to a wider transnational network, analyses a community of Indians in Kobe, Japan.1 Here, the term “Indians in Kobe” will be used to denote the group of affluent Indians who identify themselves as part of an established...


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pp. 285-286

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17. Rising India and Indians in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

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pp. 287-298

Among the countries of Southeast Asia, the three Indochina countries have the least number of Indians. Interestingly these countries were exposed to the Indian culture as early as the beginning of the Christian era, though their contact with India had declined after the thirteenth...


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pp. 299-300

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18. Indians in Korea

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pp. 301-316

Korea is located in Eastern Asia, bordering Russia, China and Japan between the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. Korea was an independent kingdom for much of the past millennia. Following its victory in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, Japan occupied Korea...


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pp. 317-318

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19. A Critical Review of Indian Economic Performance and Priorities for Action

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pp. 319-365

This chapter deals with the relative deterioration in the economic performance of the Indian community in the post-1970 period and the priorities for remedial action. The year 1970 marked the launch of the Malaysian government’s New Economic Policy...

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20. Politics of Indian Representation in Malaysia

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pp. 355-374

Formal political representation in the ruling coalition of the Barisan Nasional or National Front (BN) is organized on the basis of ethnicity. Such a principle is not something unique to Malaysia. There are many other societies that follow this method. However, not all ethnically...

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21. Indians in Malaysia: Towards Vision 2020

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pp. 375-398

Malaysia saw robust economic growth from the late 1980s, bringing general prosperity and a new confidence among large sections of the populace. Divisive debates over lingering ethnic issues were submerged in the “feelgood” environment of the 1990s...

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22. Tamil School Education in Malaysia: Challenges and Prospects in the New Millenium

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pp. 399-421

It may come as a surprise that as of 2007, the Tamil school education in Malaysia would have completed its 190 years of existence. That itself is a saga of a remarkable tenacity and durable relevance in an inhospitable environment, to the surprise of many...

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23. Socio-economic Self-help among Indians in Malaysia

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pp. 422-435

Self-help refers to any collective effort by a group experiencing the urge for self improvement. It could be for economic uplift, educational improvement, or to address social issues or even to safeguard and strengthen cultural and religious rights. The effort, usually, is the result of a consciousness...

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24. Ethnic Clashes, Squatters, and Historicity in Malaysia

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pp. 436-455

While attending a small function in Puchong during the summer of 2006, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, and in a neighbourhood populated mainly by working-class Tamils, this author was told by a middle-aged Tamil man, “Every Indian is burning inside...

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25. Indian Hindu Resurgence in Malaysia

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pp. 456-482

The current ethnic Indian population of Malaysia may be traced to two major streams of immigration throughout the period of British colonialism; namely, the overwhelming majority who were recruited under various labour schemes to provide a low-skilled workforce...


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pp. 483-484

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26. Indians in Myanmar

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pp. 485-496

Myanmar is located where the Chinese and Indian civilizations meet. Cultural interaction between Myanmar with China and India enriched Myanmar culture. Both Myanmar and India shared colonial rule. The British brought in Indians to expand rice production, but the Indians never intended to settle permanently...


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pp. 497-498

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27. The Indian Community in Metro Manila: Continuities, Changes, and Effects of Rising India

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pp. 499-524

While newspapers and magazines talk excitedly about the rise of India — whether it be the spread of Bollywood, its foremost status in the information technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sectors, corporate takeovers by Non-Resident Indians of top companies, or its 400 million middle class...

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28. Contemporary Indian Communities in Western Visayas

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pp. 525-546

The genesis of migration lies in dissatisfaction with the contemporary environment. Disparity of opportunity becomes the major motive force behind migration, whether this is to enjoy levels of living in terms of income or the physical or social...


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pp. 547-548

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29. From Mandalas to Microchips: The Indian Imprint on the Construction of Singapore

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pp. 549-567

The classical Indian influence on Southeast Asia was a largely benign one. According to G. Coedes in The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, Indians “nowhere engaged in military conquest and annexation in the name of a state or mother country”. The Indian kingdoms that emerged in “Farther India” enjoyed only ties of tradition...

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30. Democraphics, Incomes and Developmental Issues amongst Indians in Singapore

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pp. 568-601

Southeast Asia has witnessed migrations from the Indian sub-continent and China, and is culturally influenced by Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Islamic doctrines, ideologies, art, religion and philosophy of both regions. Malaysia and Singapore contain pockets...

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31. The Role of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) in Uplifting the Educational Performance of Indian Students

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pp. 602-618

The mission of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) is to raise the educational standards of Indian students. But education does not and cannot work in isolation. To uplift the educational performance of an entire community, one needs to go beyond...

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32. Singapore's New Indians: Attracting Indian Foreign Talent to Singapore

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pp. 619-634

On 7 March 2001, Time.Com of Time Magazine, referred to Indians living overseas as the “Golden Diaspora”.1 In that article they were acknowledged for running FORTUNE 500 companies, as prominent consultants and security analysts but “above all, they are bringing...

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33. The Changing Indian Performing Arts Scene in Singapore

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pp. 635-648

The underlying multi-cultural diversity of India has always made it difficult to describe or develop an Indian cultural identity. It is this diversity that makes the rich and intricate tapestry of India so very unique, fascinating and embraceable. To understand it one has to recognize and appreciate the individual strands of culture...


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pp. 649-650

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pp. 651-666

During most of the 1980s, for stringent political reasons Taiwan and India did not perceive each other as economic partners. Indian socialist economy then could not effectively respond to outside market dynamics. Under such a context, economic development was not the top priority for India and opportunity...


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pp. 667-668

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pp. 669-686

Thailand and India have been in contact economically, socially and culturally since the early formation of the Thai Kingdom of Sukhothai in the 13th Century A.D. The similarity between Thai script and some South Indian scripts, the belief in Buddhism, Indian words and place...


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pp. 687-720

E-ISBN-13: 9789812308009
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812307996

Page Count: 720
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • East Indians -- Southeast Asia.
  • East Indians -- East Asia.
  • Southeast Asia -- Foreign economic relations -- India.
  • India -- Foreign economic relations -- Southeast Asia.
  • East Asia -- Foreign economic relations -- India.
  • India -- Foreign economic relations -- East Asia.
  • Southeast Asia -- Relations -- India.
  • India -- Relations -- Southeast Asia.
  • East Asia -- Relations -- India.
  • India -- Relations -- East Asia.
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